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The Lesson (Part 3)

by Janet Lee Stinson

Read part 1 first…

My administrator arrived before the start of period 1. Students slightly smiled to greet her asking, “Why are you here, Miss?” A few boys joked that she was there to take some of them away. She smiled and said, “No, I’m here to listen to the guest speaker.” One grade 11 girl pointed to the chart paper full of questions, Ms. James those are the questions we will ask. We worked on them yesterday.”

We stood for the national anthem, we listened to the announcements and then I reminded my students of the anchor chart we created about etiquette during guest speaking engagements. I dramatically looked out the door and down the hallway. “I guess she is late arriving.” I said with a shrug. That’s when Ms. James stood up at the back of the room (just like we rehearsed) “No, Mrs. Stinson, I’m here right on time!”

My students giggled as we changed places in the room. I could see the mental shift happening. All of a sudden my students had to readjust their thinking about this person. They knew about her life, they had discussed her experiences and generated conversations around questions they really wanted to ask. Could this person be the adventurous author and world traveller they learned about?

As Ms. James began her presentation to a stunned audience of speechless grade 11’s, I thought about the implications of this lesson. I wondered how these students would explain what happened in their minds. Would this work?

How does peer pressure influence your day to day life as a teacher? Have you ever experienced a shift like the one in my classroom?


Janet Lee has been an English teacher/Department Chair, Nipissing University Reading Part 3 Instructor, Student Success Literacy Consultant, and Nelson Literacy 7-10 instructional writer and media specialist. Janet Lee recently presented literacy resources at The Great Moon Gathering in Fort Albany, Ontario. She enjoys maintaining her blog This Side of the Mirror-A Journey Through Reflection to communicate with teachers and address current issues in education.

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